We all want to see our parents to be healthy, active and happy as they reach the “golden years.” Here are 5 tips to support and encourage them.
Tip #1: Quit Smoking. If your parent smokes, encourage them to quit. Most of us know that smoking causes cancer, strokes and heart failure. If this isn’t enough, appeal to your dad’s manhood – let him know that smoking can also cause erectile disfunction. Appeal to your mom’s vanity – let her know that smoking leads to excessive wrinkles and sagging skin, not only on her face but the rest of her body as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “the nicotine in cigarettes causing narrowing of the blood vessels in the outer most layers of the skin and impairs blood flow. With over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, it can damage collagen and elastin, the fibers that give your skin elasticity.”
A great way to support their decision to stop smoking is to join them in the fight, so they have a “quit buddy.” If you smoke yourself, offer to quit with them. If you don’t smoke yourself, offer to give up something else you know isn’t good for you, like sweets.
Tip #2: Drive more water. Seems simple enough but as the Mayo Clinic explains, “as we age, our body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, the ability to conserve water is reduced and the sense of thirst becomes less acute.”
Older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies, which can increase with certain medications. Even minor illnesses, like infections affecting the lungs or bladder, can result in dehydration in seniors. Encourage your parents to carry a water bottle with them, keep water at their bedside and near their favorite chair. This is especially important for folks that are less mobile and unable to easily get water themselves.
Tip #3: Movement. As we age, the tendency is to slow down and become sedentary, which can lead to weight issues. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Even short brisk walks can have cardiovascular benefits, reduce stress and even improve sleep.
Encourage your parents to get some exercise anything from joining a YMCA and swimming (a good low impact exercise for anyone!) or take yoga or T’ai Chi class both are great for improving flexibility and balance. Taking walks with your parents is a great way to relate the events of your day or share memories – even pray together!
Tip #4: “Senior Proof” the house. Check on all the carpets to see if they’re loose and could trip your parents. Getting rid of the little throw rugs that could cause your parent to slip is a good idea. Make sure there are no electrical cords in pathways or other objects is a good idea. Add light sensitive nightlights (these go on automatically at dusk), in all the rooms and hallways. It’s a fact that people who walk barefoot in the house, fall more often. Encourage them to wear shoes or slippers with good support and soles that grip.
Tip #5: Go over medical records. Make sure your parents have regular check-ups (medical, dental and vision), shots and screenings. Set-up a file for all doctor visits, test results, and medication lists. Include a list of their doctors with phone numbers so you have easy access to their info in case of an emergency.
Help at Home can provide around the clock care for your senior loved ones by providing a stable, positive environment for seniors living with Alzheimer’s, helping them to stay active, social, and stay healthy.
Located in Greenwich, CT, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care / Help at Home, LLC is proud to be a top rated home health care provider in Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, NY, Manhattan, NY and beyond. Our clients are our family and we treat everyone with compassion and care. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your loved ones.